From: Edgar Foster (email@example.com)
Date: Sat May 02 1998 - 14:46:15 EDT
> Edgar Foster wrote:
> > In a valuable essay entitled "Reading Text As Discourse", JP Louw
> > says: "The second of the two units [of Jesus' reply to Nicodemus in
> > John 3] states the issue [of begettal] unambiguously: "what is
> > a human is PHYSICAL, what is born of the Spirit is SPIRITUAL" (Caps.
> > for emphasis. Words in brackets inserted for clarity).
> > Based on these grammatical insights, my question is:
> > Is it "permissible" to use the terms "physical" and "spiritual" in
> > John 3:6? This rendering seems to obfuscate the meaning of Jesus'
> > words. Before saying any more, I wonder what you think about Louw's
> > suggestion.
> Hi Edgar ~
> I have no idea of what is permissible. The text simply seems to say
> "That which has been begotten out of flesh is flesh." And the same
> for spirit. 3:7 would seem to take the purpose of this
> differentiation a little further, as does 3:8. There is no word for
> 'human' [ANQROPOU], not physical [FUSIS], just spirit and flesh. Is
> Spirit spiritual? This line doesn't seem to be saying so. It merely
> says it IS Spirit. Same with flesh. Is flesh fleshy or human? The
> text doesn't seem to be saying so ~ Only that it IS flesh.
I agree with the comments above. Jesus simply seems to be saying that
just as a human begets a human, so the spirit of God begets a SPIRIT
being. Lest my words be misunderstood, I am not suggesting that a
spirit-filled child of God walks upon the earth EN DUO PHUSUSIN. But
it seems to me that if a true contrast is being made here, as a human
bears a human--so God's spirit must bring forth a SPIRIT (not
spiritual) being. The one brought forth must BE spirit (John 3:8). I
will not get into the partciculars, but it appears that this is the
thrust of Jesus' words.
> What was Louw trying to take from this passage? ~ Or what did he want
> it to say? ~ Or think it might be saying. It seems so clearly to just
> be establishing the dichotomy for a purpose that will develop as the
> reader continues reading. Maybe I'm not getting your question. Yes??
Louw's words appear in DA Black's collection of discourse analysis
essays. Louw may not be trying to provide an exact translation here.
Maybe he is only paraphrasing John 3:6, in which case I would still
disagree with his rendering. Louw's primary point is to illustrate how
to read a text using the discourse method. John 3 serves as a sample
text. Maybe a further comment will elucidate matters, however:
"The second of the two units [of Jesus' reply to Nicodemus in John 3]
states the issue [of begettal] unambiguously: "what is born of a human
is PHYSICAL, what is born of the Spirit is SPIRITUAL." This explains
the expression EX hUDATOS KAI PNEUMATOS" (Caps. for emphasis. Words in
brackets inserted for clarity).
Louw seems to be stressing the NATURE of what is brought forth, over
against WHAT is produced or begotten. That is my contention with his
John seems to say that just as God IS a spirit (PNEUMA hO QEOS) in
John 4:24, so those born ANWQEN are PNEUMA hOI ANQRWPOI EN SARKI.
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